Rally Set To Demand Replacement Of Trump Ally Who’s Now In Charge Of Russia Investigation

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: So, this was quite a thing:


A coalition of groups, organized under the name TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw, will rally at 5 p.m. today on the west steps of the state Capitol to protest Trump’s decision to place an ally of the president in charge of the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Speakers will include U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), U.S. Rep.-elect Jason Crow (D-CO), State Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton), and Colorado Attorney General-elect Phil Weiser, also a Democrat

After Tuesday’s election, Trump fired his attorney general Jeff Sessions, inserting Trump ally Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general and putting him in charge of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russia investigation.

The message of the rally: a demand that Whitaker recuse himself in light of alleged conflicts of interest and previous statements attacking the investigation.

Similar rallies will take place across the country.

Other speakers include: Dr Reverend Timothy Tyler of Shorter Community AME Church, Nathan Woodliff-Stanley of ACLU Colorado, Nancy Leong of Lawyers for Good Government, and , and Caroline Fry of Common Cause.

Leroy Garcia Will Be Senate President

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s Nic Garcia:

“We’re going to face some tough challenges,” Garcia said. “The state faces tough challenges. But I’m absolutely confident with this dynamic caucus, with these leaders, we’ll be able to represent every Coloradan, we’ll be committed to finding common-sense solutions to move our state forward.”

Garcia, who was previously minority leader, will lead the Democratic caucus along with state Sens. Lois Court of Denver and Steve Fenberg of Boulder. Court was elected president pro tempore and Fenberg majority leader. Their roles are subject to a final vote by the entire Senate after the legislature resumes business in January.


Senate President-designate Leroy Garcia

Denver7’s Blair Miller reports from Colorado Senate leadership elections held today, elevating Leroy Garcia of Pueblo to serve at the new Senate President:

Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, was chosen to be the next Senate President. He is currently the Senate Minority Leader and will take over for Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, who is term-limited and whose party is now the minority party in the Senate…

Garcia took over as minority leader earlier this year after Sen. Lucia Guzman stepped down from the position over her frustration with Republicans’ handling of workplace harassment allegations.

Senate Democrats picked up two seats in the election, putting them at a 19-16 majority. Republicans had held the Senate with an 18-17 majority the past two years. Democrats now control both chambers of the General Assembly as well as the governor’s office after Jared Polis’ victory.

On the Republican side, Sen. Chris Holbert will be the new Senate Minority Leader–fully expected, although the move nonetheless comes as a snub to Senate President pro tem Jerry Sonnenberg who fell from grace for daring to support rural hospitals. The new Democratic leadership has an enormous logjam of agenda items to work through in January, not to mention accountability lingering from last year’s sexual harassment scandal left totally unresolved by Republican leadership.

Here’s looking at you, Randy Baumgardner.

Cory Gardner’s NRSC Director: “We’re Running With President Trump No Matter What”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Gardner and Trump on Air Force One

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s political operation is full steam ahead on the Trump train.

Celebrating the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s success in the mid-term elections, NRSC Executive Director Chris Hansen, who’s served as Gardner’s right-hand man since 2010, told Politico,

“We have always felt like we’re running with President Trump no matter what. We think he’s a huge asset, to be clear. These rallies are not by mistake.”

Coloradans rarely hear such unapologetic devotion to Trump “no matter what” from the Gardner camp. When speaking to local media outlets, the Senator usually tempers his support of the President. Even when he’s praising Trump he makes sure to add a caveat, as he did during an election day radio interview:

“I think there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country. There are obviously things that we’re going to agree with and disagree with the president on. But the economy is creating jobs… Wages are going up. This is incredible.”

Yet for a national political audience, Gardner’s team is embracing Trump without reservation. The NRSC’s enthusiasm is understandable. As Politico reported, they owe him:

“Trump’s personal investment in the Senate sealed the deal.  He crisscrossed the country, hitting some states multiple times — all the while delivering sound bites that Republican hopefuls used to promote themselves and bash their opponents.”


Dem Women Pull Ahead In Three Close House Races

Bri Buentello (D).

As the final ballots are counted up, three close Colorado House races are trending toward Democratic control–starting with the Pueblo Chieftain’s report on the red-hot HD-47 race between Democrat Bri Buentello and Republican “Deadbeat” Don Bendell:

Democrat Brianna Buentello apparently has won a narrow 54-vote edge over Republican Don Bendell in the race for the House District 47 seat but the race is headed for an automatic recount, according to Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz.

Buentello received 15,275 total votes in the contest to Bendell’s 15,221, according to the unofficial final results posted by Ortiz’s office Wednesday night…

Bendell had a 259-vote lead after the initial votes were tallied Tuesday night but Pueblo County had more than 13,000 uncounted ballots remaining. Ortiz’s staff finished counting those late Wednesday.

Rochelle Galindo (D).

And the Greeley Tribune reports from HD-50:

With more than 2,000 votes left to be counted, there’s nothing decided when it comes to Greeley’s House District 50 race.

Democratic candidate Rochelle Galindo leads Republican Michael Thuener 50.21 percent to 49.79 percent, taking the lead after more results were uploaded at 7 p.m. Wednesday after trailing Thuener throughout Election Day.

The candidates have just 70 votes separating them, with at least two more results uploads planned and 2,381 votes left to count, according to a news release from Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes.

Brianna Titone (D).

And finally, the Denver Post reports from Arvada’s HD-27:

In Arvada-centered House 27, Brianna Titone took the lead over Republican Vicki Pyne late on Wednesday in a district that has run deep red. Titone would be the state’s first openly transgender legislator.

“I had conversations with a lot of challenging voters that were often disenfranchised and angry about politics in general,” Titone said, adding that she felt confident about the results. “I told them that what I want to do is I want to bring the people back into government. I don’t want them to be voiceless.”


Assuming all three of these races hold their margins through recounts, we’re looking at a 41-seat Democratic majority in the Colorado House. That’s the biggest majority Democrats have enjoyed in the House at any point since that party took the legislature back in 2004, and a sign of just how big the blue wave in Colorado was this year.

In the particular case of Brianna Titone, on course to win the HD-27 seat, it’s worth noting that this is the seat formerly held by Libby Szabo, whose anti-LGBT votes and crass remarks while serving in the House made embarrassing national news. Along with the election of the first LGBT governor of the state in Jared Polis, electing Titone to HD-27 is a major development–reflecting the sea change in Colorado politics since the bad old days of Amendment 2.

For Colorado Democrats, the 2018 wave just keeps rolling.

The White House is Now Pushing Doctored Videos

This is scary stuff, as the Washington Post reports:

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday night shared a video of CNN reporter Jim Acosta that appeared to have been altered to make his actions at a news conference look more aggressive toward a White House intern.

The edited video looks authentic: Acosta appeared to swiftly chop down on the arm of an aide as he held onto a microphone while questioning President Trump. But in the original video, Acosta’s arm appears to move only as a response to a tussle for the microphone. His statement, “Pardon me, ma’am,” is not included in the video Sanders shared.

Critics said that video — which sped up the movement of Acosta’s arms in a way that dramatically changed the journalist’s response — was deceptively edited to score political points. That edited video was first shared by Paul Joseph Watson, known for his conspiracy-theory videos on the far-right website Infowars…

Side-by-side comparisons support claims from fact-checkers and experts such as Jonathan Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, who argued that crucial parts of the video appear to have been altered so as to distort the action.

On Wednesday the White House “suspended” the press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta, citing his actions at the aforementioned news conference (but really because President Trump doesn’t like him and he wasn’t being enough like Sean Hannity).

Learning Nothing: Boy Neville Stays House Minority Leader

For any Republican hoping that Tuesday night’s historic electoral bloodbath for their party in Colorado, in which Republicans lost their last remaining chokehold on Colorado government as well as constitutional statewide offices they have held for many years, would result in a significant change of course–we’re sorry to bring you this news.

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R).

That’s right–with Republicans facing what could be their smallest minority in the Colorado House since Democrats “Blueprinted” the state in 2004 once three outstanding races narrowly favoring Democrats are resolved, House Republicans have re-elected Rep. Patrick “Boy” Neville as their Minority Leader. Along with his father, now-ousted Sen. Tim “Pa” Neville, the Neville clan has exercised disproportionate control over Republican caucuses in both the Senate and the House. In the Senate, nominal Republican Senate leadership found itself dependent on the “Neville faction” to move legislation–and when they were intractable, no progress could be made.

With the re-election of Patrick Neville as House Minority Leader, all the baggage Republicans brought with them into the 2018 elections, from covering for serial sexual harassers to non-mainstream positions on abortion, guns, vaccination of school-age children, and so many other issues will be front-and-center when the General Assembly convenes this January.

As Ed Sealover reports, avoiding “an intraparty fight” was the objective for House Republicans today. The problem is, an intraparty fight is exactly what Colorado Republicans need to have right now if they wish to alter their present trajectory toward permanent minority status.

As of now, it doesn’t look like they do.

So Long, Jeff Sessions

Ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

NPR reports as Coloradans toke up in celebration:

Jeff Sessions, the president’s earliest and most fervent supporter in Congress, stepped down as attorney general Wednesday after brutal criticism from the president, bringing an abrupt end to his controversial tenure as the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

President Trump wrote on Twitter after a marathon press conference at the White House that Sessions was out and that his chief of staff, Matthew Whittaker, would serve as an acting replacement.

Of course, there is that Russia thing.

With Sessions out, Trump may attempt to limit or end the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller III into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and whether the president himself obstructed justice.

But for today, smoke ’em if you got ’em Colorado! We’ll update with local reactions.

Trump Throws Coffman Under The Bus, Because Of Course

Via Denver7’s Blair Miller, you knew this was going to happen:

President Donald Trump’s pathological inability to take responsibility for any consequence of his bull-in-a-china-shop presidency made this morning-after insult piled on injury 100% inevitable. Nobody should be a bit surprised, especially after Mike Coffman’s two years of high-visibility dissing of Trump over anecdotal and personal matters–while voting with Trump over 95% of the time–that the president had no interest in softening the blow of Coffman’s defeat yesterday, indeed using Coffman’s loss as a cautionary tale with his own supporters to stay close.

Back in reality, of course, locals are aware that CD-6 has consistently elected Democrats in other races, and Coffman survived for three elections in a ticket-splitting feat of triangulation that bedeviled Democrats who always knew the seat was winnable. What Trump did most to affect the CD-6 race was to cast Coffman’s two-faced playing off his own party’s soiled brand in undeniably harsh relief. Once that happened, the ticket-splits that kept Coffman office simply evaporated.

We suspect there will be some lingering debate among conservatives whether Coffman should have openly embraced the President, but in the case of swing CD-6, we’re pretty confident that would have only widened Coffman’s margin of defeat.

Phil Weiser Wins AG Race as Brauchler Concedes

Phil Weiser (left) and George Brauchler

Things looked good for Democratic Attorney General candidate Phil Weiser on Tuesday night, but it wasn’t until this morning that the final outcome was determined.

As the Denver Post reports:

Republican George Brauchler on Wednesday morning conceded the Colorado attorney general’s race to Democratic opponent Phil Weiser.

Weiser won with 49.67 percent of the vote, while Brauchler garnered 47.49 percent, according to Colorado Secretary of State’s Office results updated Wednesday morning.

Brauchler said he called Weiser on Wednesday morning to congratulate him and told him “anything he needs just to call on me.”

The political future for Republican George Brauchler looks pretty grim. Brauchler was initially a candidate for Governor before sputtering out and switching to the Attorney General’s race in late 2017. The Republican Attorney General Association (RAGA) spent millions of dollars to prop up Brauchler’s AG campaign to no avail.

Weiser’s victory completes a stunning Democratic sweep of Colorado’s top statewide offices. Weiser is also the first Democrat to win the race for Attorney General since Ken Salazar was re-elected in 2002.

For Now, Gardner (And An Unknown CU Regent) Are The Lone CO Republicans Holding Statewide Office

(This is what a blue wave looks like – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

President Trump (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Yesterday, as Coloradans finished casting a blue wave of ballots that upended state politics, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who along with CU Regent Heidi Ganahl are now the lone Republicans occupying state-wide offices in Colorado, was on the radio talking like a candidate.

That’s what he’ll likely be in 2020, if he defends his seat for the first, and Democrats hope, the last time.

On the radio, Gardner said “there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country.”

Gardner was trying to find a middle ground on Trump, acknowledging the widespread anger with the president in Colorado, which favored Hillary Clinton by five points, while focusing on economic themes.

GARDNER: And I think there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country. There are obviously things that we’re going to agree with and disagree with the president on.

But the economy is creating jobs. Money is coming back in, a thousand manufacturing jobs a day added to this country. You’ve got billions of dollars relocating into the United States. Wages are going up. This is incredible.

And you’re exactly right. There are elements of the radical left that are going to vote against that economic growth, vote against that economic opportunity, just because of the sheer blindness of their opposition.

Whether Gardner’s love-some-of-Trump-Hate-some-of-Trump message would work in Colorado in 2020, is obviously unknown today, two years out.

But after this election, you have think this would fail miserably, and Gardner couldn’t win here with Trump on the ticket, especially given that Gardner has been a loyal ninety-one-percent Trump supporter.

And yesterday’s election shows that Republicans nationwide aren’t in the mood to dump the president from the 2020 ballot, meaning he likely isn’t going anywhere and spelling doom for Gardner.

Even if Trump is gone by 2020, the voting pattern in Colorado today looks bad for the first-term senator, as pollsters on both sides of the aisle have been pointing out all week.


Coffman Goes From Hard-Right, To Softer-Right, To Every Which Way–And Then Out

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman won re-election in 2016, prevailing in a district carried by Hillary Clinton, even a liberal blog ColoradoPols wrote that the Republican’s “ability to survive so many very different electoral climates and the complete refashioning of his congressional district make another serious run at Coffman increasingly difficult to justify.”

Two years later, Coffman has been voted out, replaced by Democrat Jason Crow.

The difference this year is Trump.

Coffman’s increasingly desperate attempts to define himself as an anti-Trump Republican weren’t believed by voters who apparently saw him as a pawn in Trump’s GOP army. A pawn with a 96 percent pro-Trump voting record, as Democrats repeated throughout the campaign.

Actually, Coffman was more Trump-like during the first 18 years of his political career than he was when he was voted out today. He began migrating away from his hardest-hard-right social conservative stances after his congressional district was redrawn after the 2010 census.

Unlike some flip-flopping politicians, Coffman’s migration was achieved by adopting multiple nuanced positions on controversial issues–with variations emerging over years.

On abortion, for example, he went from proudly opposing all abortion, even for rape and incest, to withdrawing his support for a personhood abortion ban. Later, he voted for abortion ban exceptions, infuriating his personhood supporters.

He voted to defund Planned Parenthood multiple times and then put a Planned Parenthood logo in a campaign advertisement. And then, in interviews on conservative radio, he continued to attack the women’s health organization.

On immigration, his spectacular metamorphosis took him from calling the Dream Act a nightmare to embracing it, even though he blocked the country’s best shot at immigration reform when he opposed a comprehensive immigration bill, passed in 2014 with bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate. The bill died in the House, and Coffman went on to learn Spanish.


Election Night 2018 Open Thread

UPDATE (9:30 pm): Democrat Dave Young will win the race for State Treasurer. In a bigger surprise, Democrat Jena Griswold will defeat Republican incumbent Wayne Williams for Secretary of State.


UPDATE (9:00 pm): Democrats appear to have retaken the Colorado Senate, running the table in all five pivotal races.


UPDATE (7:37 pm): NBC News calls the gubernatorial race for Jared Polis and the CD-6 race for Jason Crow.


UPDATE (7:14 pm): Top State Senate races in Jefferson County all look strong for Democrats. Jessie Danielson (SD-20), Brittany Pettersen (SD-22), and Tammy Story (SD-16) have healthy leads.


UPDATE (7:09 pm): Polls are closed in Colorado. Initial results are trickling in.


UPDATE (6:55 pm): Latest ballot return numbers in Colorado are out. Unaffiliated voters have surpassed Republicans.

Democrats 732,700
Unaffiliated 728,004
Republicans 725,464
TOTAL 2,217,895


UPDATE (6:40 pm): Democrats are currently leading in 21 Republican-held House Districts. Two seats have already been called for Dems (1 in Virginia, 1 in Florida). If you’re counting at home, that adds up to 23.


UPDATE (4:45 pm): Polls are closed in Indiana and Kentucky.


Watch this space for updates.